New Year Resolutions 0 comments on 2018 Goals – March update

2018 Goals – March update

tldr; Steady progress

Get to 175 lbs
I haven’t nailed the pattern of exercise to accelerate things, but I’m solidly below 200 pounds (199 lbs). The goal in April will be focusing on getting exercise into the groove in one way or another to really push me into the 180s before the summer months begin. Less so for swimsuit season, and just more for personal health. This is a tough one, but a necessary one.

Weight Chart - March 2018
Weight Chart – March 2018

1 book per month
I finished Business Model Generation, and was able to read another book – Keeping Your Sh*t Together. It’s a phenomenally well written book on how to recognize and manage your mental and emotional health while going through the ups and downs of running a business. Whether you’re the founder, a GM, a product lead, a manager, an individual contributor, it doesn’t matter – this book can be useful for you.

It’s one of those books where you read it, and then need to keep it on your shelf so that when you catch yourself in one of those moments you can pull it out and use it as a reference.

2 date nights with Micky
Micky and I had a really great date day right at the end of the month – we bought a new house in upstate New York! It’s going to be really fun to have a place to go where the kids can get muddy, I can fish, and Micky can have a project.

We also did a grown up night with Theo’s friend Cal’s parents. That’s what happens when you have kids. They’re the ones who define who your friends are, and you just hope they choose well. Theo chose very well here, and we had a really fun night at Balabastoo eating all sorts of great Israeli food. I would highly recommend it.

1 date per child per month quarter
This was Luka’s month (I think Amelia missed out in Q1). We went to the ACC Basketball Tournament to watch NC State break my heart. You can read all about it here. It’s so much fun watching him become a sports fan, and falling in love with the things that I used to do as a kid. There’s really nothing better than sharing that kind of experience with my son. It was amazing.

New Year Resolutions 1 comment on 2018 Goals – February update

2018 Goals – February update

tldr; A good month on almost all fronts

Get to 175 lbs
Big jump towards the goal in February – where I lost 8 pounds. This came down to three factors (1) I got the Flu, and literally shaked, sweat, and starved myself down a few pounds (2) intermittent fasting which is working out for me well (I’m doing 15-9, and working towards 16-8) (3) keto diet which I hate, but it’s forcing me to snack less and eat smarter which is working well.

In March, I’m going to start rock climbing twice a week after the babies go to sleep to try to add exercise to the mix, and hopefully as the weather turns find a soccer game.

1 book per month
I didn’t finish my book Business Model Generation, but I love it. I’ll finish it soon. It’s got me buzzing again about things to build, and figuring out whether they are products or businesses. Thinking about business models, and how to more creatively use business models to generate innovation. Good read that I would highly recommend.

2 date nights with Micky
Months with a three-day weekend make this one a lot easier to achieve. Micky and I had a really fun President’s Day together where we hung out with Ibai and Alyssa, walked around Manhattan, and just spent time in each other’s space. Couple that with a fun birthday dinner for Dom, and another date night on top of that, and it was an unusually active month.

My favorite though was spending 2.5 hours together trying to piece together a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle. We’re only about 25% through, and I’m worried the rest will take even more time… but it was an awesome, technology-free night.

1 date per child per month quarter
The last Saturday of February, I spent the full day with just Theo… and it was glorious. We went to the American Natural History Museum. We saw blue whales, dinosaurs, elephants. We had a great time in the cantina drinking inappropriately sugary drinks. When we hopped onto the subway on the way home, Theo passed out, and all I could think to myself was just how wonderful it is to have him.

This is probably my favorite of my goals, and March is gonna come with lots of fun opportunities to do more.

 

New Year Resolutions 1 comment on 2018 Goals – January Update

2018 Goals – January Update

Get to 175 lbs
Not the best start, but 4 pounds is something. I started the year at 210 lbs (holy shit – I know), and I’m down to 206. Given CKO and Vegas, it isn’t horrible. It’s also going to take more than disciplined diet though because I’m not that disciplined 🙁

1 book per month
I finished The Great Transformation by Karl Polyani. It’s superb. I think everyone should do themselves a huge favor, and put this book on their bed stand. It’s a treatise on how economic liberalism is destined to fail, and how we’ve spent 200 years lying to ourselves about the viability of raw capitalism. Look all around us, and we’ll see that Polyani was right, and his views on Poor Laws and Regulations could have easily predicted the economic situations in which we find ourselves today (poor labor protections, growing divide between poor and rich, misuse of land, money and people). A much better book for the emerging Socialist than Mr. Marx in my opinion.

2 date nights with Micky
We pulled this one off in a bit of a funny way. We did a date night to see The Shape of Water – which is a stunning film. And then ran away from the kids for a day (courtesy of Doruk and Hanna) to go house hunting in Upstate NY. I think though in February that we’ll try harder to do two proper date nights 🙂

1 date per child per month
I failed horribly at this one. I think I’ll change this one to 1 date per child per quarter. There really aren’t enough weekends and moments to find 1 date per month. The upcoming ACC Basketball Tournament could be a good start…

Overall – not a bad start. It’s been good forcing myself to read more, and I think I’m going to start to make more and more progress on the weight goal. More information on both coming soon 🙂

just thinking out loud 0 comments on 2017: A Year in Review – The Bad

2017: A Year in Review – The Bad

I was honestly really pleasantly surprised by how many good things I could come up with for this year because it’s honestly been a year dominated by the bad.

I’ve learned this year that the people who I grew up around never wanted me to be in their lives in the first place. My teachers, my coaches, my neighbors – they despised my background, my future, and who knows maybe even my presence.

I’ve been so bi-coastal this year that I feel like I’m constantly missing out on the most important thing in both places. Critical events happening in real time while I’m video or dialed in. Parent-teacher conferences or fun school events when I’m crossing the country the other way. I never knew getting status with an airline would be such a taxing and exhausting process.

I’ve been so lonely being in a new city, not being able to find the time to establish new friendships, and just constantly being stuck with my own thoughts. It took me a while to make friends in SF too, and I think I just forgot how hard it was. And I didn’t have kids in tow back then.

I’ve been bad to my physical self. I’ve gained 20 pounds. I don’t exercise, do yoga, or play soccer. I eat badly because I’m constantly stress eating.

But ultimately, I just haven’t been the father or the husband that I want to be. I haven’t been the person I want to be. My calendar has run my life instead of me feeling like I have a clear destination in mind and checking in with myself to make sure I’m getting there.

In 2017, I lost sight of where I’m going, and who I want to be when I get there. It’s been a bad year. One of the ones we’ll put in the forget jar when history writes our stories.

So good-bye 2017… on to the next one.

just thinking out loud 0 comments on 2017: A Year in Review – The Good

2017: A Year in Review – The Good

What a year… to say the least. Dominated so much by what happened around me, that I really spent almost no time thinking about looking inward, and keeping score on myself. There was a lot of bad… but let’s start with the good.

  • Exploring a new city
    It’s been so much fun getting to know New York. We moved December 17th, and spent the year becoming citizens of the world’s capital. It’s a fascinating city with so much to offer – Chinese New Year, museums, subway, Coney Island, going Upstate, and so much more. Learning the city and everything New York has to offer has been nothing short of extraordinary.
  • Being closer to Doruk (and Hanna)
    I think though the best part of all of this has been being closer to Doruk. The kids getting to know him better. Getting to know Hanna better. Defining who our family is in this generation as we redefine our unit post living in our parent’s home. My favorite – of so many adventures – was a text message call out for Sunday night dinner where we all descended from all parts of both NY and the US to get together. A clear sign that we’re building something special.
  • My aunt visited us
    I think a lot of the folks I grew up with would be hard pressed to put family on any good list. But I never really saw anyone growing up. Once every few years for a few days at a time is really hard to build a rapport. But this year, my aunt came to us, and stayed for a while. It was really lovely. Both in that she got to be here, and in that we got to be tourists together as well. It was definitely a highlight for me to say the least. 
  • Superb times with friends
    I had so many fantastic adventures this year with friends – NASCAR race with James and the boys, horse racing with John at the Belmont, a night out with Sam that will live in infamy, and dinners out in SF with the people I love. Being in a new place can be incredibly lonely, and having these moments to hold onto has been wonderful.
  • Vacation in the Turks & Caicos
    I’m quite bad at taking vacations, but Micky planned for us to go to the Turks & Caicos Islands, and disconnect for a week or so… and it was AWESOME. SCUBA diving, fishing, snorkeling, making friends, swimming in the pool, doing lots of nothing… it was exactly what the doctor ordered. I absolutely loved it. We got really lucky too because we beat Hurricane Irma by literally 36 hours.
  • My dad’s induction into the NC State Computer Science Hall of Fame
    I think it’s quite obvious to anyone who knows me well how much I measure myself against my dad, and his successes. My dad, and my grandfathers, are my gold standard. And it’s amazing to me how no matter what my dad is constantly pushing the bar forward. This year, he was part of the inaugural Hall of Fame class at NC State’s Computer Science deprtment. Out of 9000 alumni, he was chosen as one of the top 25. It’s nothing short of awesome and inspiring. That we also got to go to the State Fair that weekend only put icing on the cake for what was a momentous few days for our family.
  • Working with Ibai and Matt again
    Having now moved to a new company for the first time in my life, I’m really happy to be working with some of the folks who I was the most excited to work with in previous lives. While things at Hearsay have been nothing short of crazy, being able to take on the adventure together has made it that much more fun. Coupled with a great team that I’ve proudly built, and I think 2018 will be an amazing year.

To top it all off, taking this adventure on with Micky and watching my babies grow on their own journies has been nothing short of amazing. I know this whole thing would be so empty without them. Theo’s love for the Natural History museum. Luka’s love for the Cosmos. Amelia becoming an urbanite almost over night.

So while there’s been much chaos, there has also been much good. Yet, and I’ll write more on this tomorrow, I’m happy to say good-bye to 2017.

just thinking out loud 0 comments on Last night the world become a little bit more empty

Last night the world become a little bit more empty

My dear friend Payam,

I thought in 10 days time we’d get together for breakfast. I wanted to talk about sending Dylan to New York, and not letting me know. And how soccer was going. What a great job you’re doing at TokBox, and how happy I am at Hearsay. How our dads are getting older, and the world is getting angrier.

But instead, as I sit here tonight, I’m thinking instead about how cruel life is.

For your mother and father, who have to bury a second child.
For your boys.
For your wife.
For all of the people you took care of while never letting any of us take care of you

The world is a little bit more empty, and so is my heart.

Good-bye dear friend. I hope you’re at peace.

We miss you too much already

just thinking out loud 0 comments on Two days later – My processed thoughts on the Executive Order banning refugees

Two days later – My processed thoughts on the Executive Order banning refugees

Ok – I’ve processed a bit more, and read a bit more, and thought a bit more, and come to this conclusion:
 
This Executive Order isn’t anti-Muslim. It’s anti-Axis of Evil. Yup, we’re back to the Axis of Evil. It’s actually much worse in my opinion. My primary complaint with the Left across the world today is that it doesn’t provide solutions. It only points out the problems with the Right. So instead of just complaining, here’s my set of proposals for what I would do instead:
 
(1) We need to divest from Oil. We need to invest in American energy. We are less than one generation away from being able to run our electric grid nearly completely on renewable energy. This creates jobs in America that are impossible to export. The delta should be filled with American sources of energy. This allows us to invest in those communities as a matter of national security with the balance being that we would want to do so in both an ecologically and economically sustainable way.
 
(2) If we pull off (1), then we need to divest from the Saudis. The primary reason to stay involved with Middle Eastern affairs is to maintain open channels into the Saudis. This allows us to make sure that their influence on OPEC is balanced with our economic needs. We can then arm them against Iran (more to come on this below). And play puppet master . If we can reduce our attachment to OPEC, then we can also diminish the wealth and power that we give to Saudi Arabia today. This in turn diminishes the need for the US to be involved in the Middle East allowing the region to return to a status as a local one instead of a global one.
(2a) The Wahhabi School of Islam, as preached and protected by the leaders of Saudi Arabia, is the primary source of Islamic Terrorism. If what we’re really doing is fighting Islamic Terrorism, this is yet another reason to divest ourselves from the Saudis.
(3) The other primary source of Islamic Terrorism is the blind support of Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians. To solve this, we need to drop the two-state solution rhetoric, focus on a single Israel where Arabs, Palestinians, and Israelis can live side-by-side successfully, and the religious views of all are protected. This means that Israel has to change its constitution. It also means that Palestinians need to be willing to trade statehood for prosperity. I don’t know if it’s possible, but it’s a much better outcome than what’s on the cards today.
(4) America needs to get over its infatuation with Iran. Yes, there was a revolution in 1979. Yes, there was an embassy hostage situation. We need to move on. Just like Reagan’s economic policies drove the Soviet Union to the ground, so can an open door policy bring down the extremism inside of the Iranian government. It may not mean a return to democracy for Iran. But let’s not focus on democracy everywhere. Instead let’s just reduce the hostility against us in as many places as possible.
If we do the above, then here’s what we’ve done:
(1) Moved away from non-renewable resources in our energy supply chain
(2) Created jobs in the US that cannot be exported while preserving the economic and ecological solvency of the communities most impacted
(3) Disconnected from our perverse relationship with Saudi Arabia
(4) Solved a human rights controversy in Israel
(5) Dropped our unhealthy obsession with getting back at Iran
just thinking out loud 0 comments on The year of the autonomous car

The year of the autonomous car


The picture above is the Ford entry in the 2016 24h Le Mans race. Ford famously won the race in 1966 – if I’m not mistaken – on the back of work done by Mr Shelby whose fame comes from the car carrying his name. They came back at the 50th anniversary, and won it again. 

Outside of this car, however, this was the year of the future of automobiles – not the past. And the brands at the show would have had you believe that right around the corner, we’re all going to be in self-driving cars that we rent, and that parking, car accidents, and fuel consumption are things of the past. 

But, even as a technologist, the last thing I want is for this revolution to come too quickly. 

Autonomous cars represent for me the next major economic shift we’re going to take as a society. 

We won’t need – truck drivers, taxi drivers, or parking attendants. 
We will need – systems engineers, merchandise unloaders, and a whole new breed of mechanics. 

We won’t have trucks competing with daily commuters at peak hours to get places. 

We will have roadside motels shut down as their clientele becomes unemployed. 

We don’t know what insurance looks like in this new world, and we do know that taxes, licensing, regulations, and standards will all have to be reconsidered. 

And so while I want the technology to be built, and the regulations and licensing conversations to start, the bigger opportunity I want to challenge us to take is to build a framework in which we look for a win-win (Pareto Efficient) outcome for everyone who will be impacted by autonomous cars. 

We have a chance to have the conversations that we didn’t when we built the interstate system and exported our manufacturing infrastructure.

How can we ensure that there is protection for those who will lose paid for by the economic gains and efficiencies of those who win?

How can we look at the industries impacted by this revolution – trucking, parking, construction, gas stations- and make sure that in preserving themselves they don’t stifle innovation? 

And equally – that the technologists who will win in this new world don’t irrationally pull us into the future without being able to ensure our safety, our communities, and the new culture we will build on these capabilities?

After this election cycle, and this year’s CES, I’m realizing that policy is just as important of a deliverable for a disrupting business as the product that is doing the disrupting. 

My key takeaway – we all want to get to the future knowing our dignity will be intact when we get there. 

We should make sure we have the conversations to help as many of us achieve that goal as possible. 

Life Updates, Uncategorized 0 comments on Until next time San Francisco

Until next time San Francisco

Today, after 8.5 years, is my last day living in San Francisco – a city that gave me so much:

  • The love of my life
  • The birthplace of my three children
  • The only jobs I’ve ever known
  • My first major sports championship I’ve experienced
  • The first home that I bought
  • The only place not named Cary, NC that I’ve ever called home

I’m really sad.

We’re leaving behind an incredible friend network, a fascinating school community, a gorgeous home and backyard we just settled into, and so much more.

Our new destination – Brooklyn, NYC, NY.

We’re gaining closeness to our old friend network, a phenomenal career opportunity for Micky, weekend trips to see family in the UK, train rides to see Doruk and Hanna, and an amazing adventure at a point in our lives where it feels perfect to take on this challenge.

And yet – tonight – as I said good bye to Yenni for the last time, and, today, as I said good bye to CDS for the last time all I could feel was sadness. My heart could only fill with tears.

And tomorrow, at 9am, we board our one-way flight to JFK.

Fatherhood, Uncategorized 0 comments on Moana – The review for adults

Moana – The review for adults

If you haven’t seen the new Disney film Moana, then turn away. There are spoilers in this post.

Ok, I’m assuming that if you’re still with me, that you’re ok with knowing what happens in the movie, and jumping in on the conversation my brother and I had in the aftermath of seeing the film.

This lady probably thinks that the movie is about the Climate Change agenda. I could see why she would believe that. But that thread in the movie didn’t really make a huge political statement in my opinion.

In the movie, a young Chieftainess decides that her destiny requires she go outside the small island and reef her family has called home for generations to undo the curse imposed on man by the demigod Maui’s decision to steal the heart of creation.

I remember talking with Byrne Reese (one of the most interesting thinkers that I know) that the “bad guy” in Frozen was in fact the 1%. Sure it was actually Hans and the Duke of Weaslton in the physical form, but underneath the surface it was that insatiable desire to hold power even when it wasn’t yours to hold. In the shadow of the Occupy Wall Street movement which was happening down the street from the Pixar offices as the movie was being made, this made a ton of sense to me.

Equivalently, in Moana, the bad guy is the human ego and its insatiable desire to be worshipped. The physical manifestation of this is the demigod Maui. He’s the one who starts the curse, avoids the problem as much as he can, and then attempts to actually kill the entity who needs to be saved.  But underneath it all is his origin story. Thrown away at birth by parents who didn’t want him, Maui needed to be saved by the Gods, and repaid this favor by constantly giving to man so that man would continue to worship him. He had to feel wanted because he started off life by being rejected.

He’s such a fun character. You want to love him. Having Dwayne Johnson voice him is perfect, and I think he does an incredible job giving the character an outsized personality. But as much as you want to root for him, you actually have to root against Maui. Because he represents everything that’s wrong about that handsome, likable, hometown hero figure. The bullying nature. The misogyny. The condescending tone. Running away in the critical moment.

It’s a good enough movie for kids. My trio all paid attention for the full 90 minutes. It was Theo’s first movie in a movie theater. There are two or so catchy songs you’ll hum when you see the movie advertisements around town.

But at the end of the day – the formula for the kids is pretty predictable and generic.

It’s the commentary on the hero worship culture that I think is worthy of conversation and analysis. When the guy you wanna love is really the bad guy in the room – what are we supposed to do?